In sci-fi action movie, The Adam Project, the year is 2050 when middle-aged pilot Adam Reed opens up a wormhole to the past. He plans to use this wormhole to jump back to 2018, to search for his missing wife Laura, who has become lost in time.
But after he messes up his jump, Adam travels to the year 2022, where he meets his younger self – a smart-mouthed 12-year-old with a “punchable face”. This version of Adam is constantly bullied at school, has a fractious relationship with his mother, and is struggling with the recent loss of his father.
Understanding they both have a lot to learn from each other, the two Adams join forces. Their goal is to send the older Adam back through time, to continue his mission and save their wife.
However, their plan hits a new wrinkle when they discover that in order to protect the future, and ensure the safety of Laura, they must alter time. This will involve meeting up with their deceased father in the past, to stop him from inventing time travel.
Directed by Shawn Levy, The Adam Project stars Ryan Reynolds, Jennifer Garner, Zoe Saldaña, Mark Ruffalo, Catherine Keener, and Walker Scobell. The movie is available to stream on Netflix from today and if you’re a fan of sci-fi romps, then you should certainly take a look at this one.
The Adam Project feels very much like a 1980s adventure picture – a sort of Flight of the Navigator, meets Back to the Future via Steven Spielberg kind of thing. It is a film which includes a good dose of action, plenty of humour, a fantastical premise, and most important of all, a significant amount of heart.
I’m pretty sure the film will draw its audience in with the promise of time-travel and spaceships, but that same audience will discover the true strength of the movie lies in its sentiment and its powerful look at loss. This is where the film really hits a home run and is certainly what kept me on board throughout.
But the heart of the movie is not the only thing that got me invested in The Adam Project; the cast is a big draw too. Ryan Reynolds takes on the lead role of middle-aged Adam, and he is as much fun as you might expect.
Yes, Reynolds is largely doing his typical sarcastic stuff, which we are all more than familiar with, but once again it works rather well. It is toned down in some places, given a harder edge in others, and allowed to be playful when the moment calls for it, ensuring his performance never becomes tiresome.
And to make sure Reynolds really hits his mark, he is teamed up with Walker Scobell, who gets to play the young version of Adam (i.e. the young version of Reynolds). Scobell is essentially a pre-teen version of Reynolds, and it is spooky just how good he is at imitating his fellow actor.
I had to check Scobell’s IMDb page after watching the movie, to see if he is related to Reynolds in some way – perhaps a nephew, cousin, or long-lost son; but no, as far as I can tell he’s simply a good actor. Based on this performance alone, his feature film debut no less, Scobell is one to keep an eye on.
The rest of the cast are pretty solid too, especially Mark Ruffalo, who takes on the role of Louis Reed, father of the two Adams. Ruffalo gets to play the well-meaning, but somewhat absent father, who becomes a pivotal part of the story.
While Ruffalo doesn’t get a great deal of screen time, he sells his scenes very well, and the same can be said for Jennifer Garner and Zoe Saldaña, who are also given small, but significant roles. In fact, the only weak link in the cast is Catherine Keener, who plays chief villain Maya Sorian.
It’s not Keener’s fault by the way, she simply isn’t given much to do. As Sorian, Keener is mostly tasked with delivering some dull dialogue, while playing a one-note bad gal.
My only major criticism with the film is that this is the one area of The Adam Project which is severely under written. There are attempts to flesh out the villain a little, but it all feels very much like an afterthought, with the movie far more concerned with the Adams.
Thankfully, this minor misstep doesn’t cause the film any major issues, and the whole thing moves along without any further hiccups. The important thing is The Adam Project is likeable from start to finish and it never outstays its welcome.
It shouldn’t be a surprise this movie lands so well, as director Shawn Levy has previously helmed three Night at the Museum movies, as well as last year’s hugely entertaining action-comedy, Free Guy. Levy has also directed a couple of episodes of Netflix’s Stranger Things, which in itself is very much a call-back to the sci-fi adventure stories of the past, and there are a few elements of all of the above in The Adam Project.
What I’m essentially saying is, if you like any of his stuff, then you should like The Adam Project too. It may not have the most complex plot, or the biggest budget, but it delivers where it counts.
The Adam Project is a family-friendly picture with general appeal. Kids will love it, and big kids should get a nostalgic kick out of it too.